When Life Gives You Lemons (or there are protests going on so you can’t go out), Make Non-Fat, Greek-Style Yogurt in a Crock Pot

For weeks now, I’ve been pestering Raj to take me to the Citadel. Unfortunately, due to protests going on downtown, we were unable to go (safety first), again, resulting in house arrest. What else is there to do when you’re out of Netflix DVD’s, it’s too hot to lay out, and there’s nothing to eat? Make yogurt.

Now you might be wondering why I’d bother to make yogurt when it’s so plentiful in grocery stores, right? Around here, yogurt is NOT real yogurt, at least not by my standards (Raj might disagree with me and he’ll point out that I’m petrified of FULL-FAT anything, so the real challenge, I suppose, is finding HEALTHY, nonfat yogurt). Dairy products here (yogurt, eggs, whipping cream, heavy cream, milk, etc.) are bought on shelves, not refrigerated,
and mostly U.H.T., or ultra pasteurized. The shelf life of these products is YEARS (I find this frightening and disconcerting to see milk and eggs in the aisles of the stores!!!). Ultra pasteurization essentially kills everything, leaving the these products less than nutritional. It’s just not right, so I sought out an alternative to the tasteless yogurt that I’ve been eating.

I scoured the Internet for recipes to make my own yogurt, which wasn’t difficult given the ‘slow’ food movement of the hour. I found a lot of recipes calling for the use of a crock pot, which I didn’t have, but quickly ordered on Amazon. When the crock arrived, I thought I was set to venture into the world of homemade yogurt until I realized that in order to make yogurt, I’d have to find milk that was pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized. Raj and I spent a couple of days in the dairy sections of the grocery stores looking for REAL milk and finally hit pay dirt.

Here’s the recipe that I followed. It’s a synthesis of of the recipes that I found online. They all varied a little, but I had great success with this one.


  • 8 cups (1/2 gallon) non-fat (skimmed, as it’s called here) milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (with active, live cultures) [After this first batch, you save 1/2 cup of your own yogurt to put into each subsequent batch]
  • optional: vanilla extract for flavoring
Make sure the milk is pasteurized, not UHT or Ultra
  1. Place the milk into the crock pot, cover with lid and set on “Low” for 2.5 hours.
Cook on "Low"
Place the lid on the crock
Set the timer for 2.5 hours
2. Unplug the crock after 2.5 hours and let the milk sit in the crock for 3 hours.
After 2.5 hours
Unplug and let sit for 3 more hours

3. Take 2 cups of milk and stir in 1/2 cup of yogurt with ‘active/live cultures.’ Stir back into milk mixture. Replace lid on crock.

Add 1/2 cup of yogurt with 'active/live cultures'


4. Wrap the crock (still off and unplugged) in a large towel to insulate it from drafts and leave overnight (at least 8 hours, untouched).

5. Place cheese cloth over a colander and drain for a couple of hours in the refrigerator, to the thickness of your preference (I was going for Greek-style thickness).


Use cheese cloth to drain the whey


It's the thickness of regular yogurt now, but I want it THICKER


Straining. It looks really lumpy.
About 2 cups of whey
6. Optional: Add flavor and/or sweetness.
Adding vanilla extract and honey for flavor
7. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup for your next batch.
The finished product. Perfect!!!
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this yogurt. It was thick and tangy. It didn’t even need the vanilla extract. I served it with walnuts, honey and a banana. It’s so worth the effort, even if you have Greek yogurt readily available to you because it’s so cheap (okay, maybe not, but I’ll pretend that I’ll keep making this when I go home. The truth is, I can’t wait to get back to Whole Foods to buy my favorite brand, but meantime, it’s a good replacement).